Palaniswami meets Modi; discusses politics

Palaniswami meets Modi; discusses politics

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami. PTI

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Monday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a slew of demands, including immediate setting up of AIIMS in the state, besides discussing politics.

During the day, Palaniswami sought to assert his authority in the AIADMK by taking a meeting of party MPs, though he is just joint coordinator of the party next to O Panneerselvam the coordinator, and visiting the new party office being constructed in the national capital.

The meeting between Modi and Palaniswami was keenly awaited in Tamil Nadu's political circles as it comes at a time when the verdict in the disqualification of 18 MLAs, owing allegiance to rebel AIADMK leader T T V Dhinakaran, is expected to be delivered very soon.

The AIADMK government could be in trouble either way— if the Madras High Court quashes the Speaker’s decision then the government would plunge into a majority and if the order is upheld, the AIADMK will have to face bypolls in 20 constituencies, where it will face a resurgent DMK and rebel Dhinakaran’s AMMK. 

The meeting also came three days after Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam admitted to having met Dhinakaran at the height of his ‘dharmayudham’ against the V K Sasikala family in July last year.

During Palaniswami's interaction with reporters at the Tamil Nadu House after the meeting, he was “non-committal” on whether politics was discussed in the meeting with Modi.

“There are no elections now… A call on alliance will be taken only during elections,” he said in response to a query on whether the AIADMK and the BJP would form an alliance.

The chief minister said he requested Modi to confer Bharat Ratna on Dravidian legend and DMK founder C N Annadurai and former chief minister J Jayalalithaa and rename Chennai central railway station as Bharat Ratna Dr M G Ramachandran central railway station.

In a 37-page memorandum submitted to the prime minister, Palaniswami also requested him to issue instructions to expedite necessary approvals so that the actual work on establishing AIIMS in Thoppur, Madurai, can be started on ground, within this calendar year itself.

The chief minister also asked Modi to approve a Detailed Project Report for improvements and rehabilitation of irrigation systems in the Cauvery basin for efficient irrigation management excluding the components proposed for an ADB supported programme at an estimated cost of Rs. 17,600 crores.

He also requested flight operations to Hosur, Neyveli and Ramanathapuram and evening flight service to Salem from Chennai.